There has been a market in the town since Richard 1st chartered the first stalls in 1189, although in those days it was grouped around the lower end forming Ermine Street, and the Cross area.
As the town grew and buildings became more permanent, it gradually moved further south up the hill to its current position.
Royston became a bustling commercial centre and was also endowed with a cattle market and auctioneers. It was not uncommon to witness cows and sheep being paraded around the town and hear the rumble of noise emanating from the auction rooms.
Over time, with the shift of purchasing geared more to out of town supermarkets and the introduction of shopping online, the market, along with many others of its kind, stagnated and struggled to maintain its former vibrancy. By the time the current Market Manager, Rob Mills, arrived on the scene in 2019, it had dwindled to just a handful of stalls. Due to his tenacity and nurturing and help from Royston First, however, the pitch, now four years on, looks far more robust and represents a shopping area of much wider choice and great quality value for money, trading twice weekly on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Some of the faithful stalwarts have been trading here for many years, with the Tucker wet and shellfish family-run business for example now into its third generation, being founded by grandfather Frank in 1956. Brothers, Daren and Andrew, still make the journey twice a week from their base in Norfolk.
Sharmans Flowers has been trading at Royston Market twice weekly for over 60 years. Specialising in cut flowers, topiary, and bedding plants in season they always provide the Market with a vibrant burst of colour.
Another dedicated trader, this time of over 20 years, is Charters Fruit and Vegetable stall, or should I say stalls, because the family occupies a long section of the square by the A10 to display their large selection of quality produce from St. Ives. They will also deliver locally on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Fresh meat and bread can also be purchased on the Market, along with numerous other commodities, and there is a continuing healthy interest from new individuals regarding the take up of future pitches.